Did you think Niagara would be Dry?

We visited Niagara Falls today!

And as Sam warned us, it truly is more spectacular in person than photos would indicate. When we left our hotel this morning, it was 80 degrees and sunny. By the time we got to Niagara, we had driven through some rain and the temp had dropped 12 degrees. When we arrived, we were practically forced into a commercial parking lot rather than the one for the state park, by an aggressive flag man. In the end, the parking fee was the same, but we had to walk through a commercial Visitor Center that was made to appear as though it were the official one, and we were given quite a  hard sell on a bus tour. In the end, we decided to hoof it, and walked to a bunch of the attractions there.

Here’s a taste

They Could … Go … All … The … Way!

Well, perhaps it’s too early make such a prediction, but we did at least get on the road today. Our friends Larry and Amy, and their children Allison and Jeffrey treated us to breakfast this morning, which was a real treat! Then our neighbors, the Greers, took our picture before we headed on our way.

We were a little later than we intended in getting on the road this morning, but that was mostly because we decided to have some floors refinished, since the house will be devoid of living things for a span.

We followed Rt. 2 from Arlington all the way through Massachusetts up to the northwest corner, then into New York and Troy, where our friends Wendy and Charles, and their children Gregory and Marguerite, treated us to lunch. What a great way to start a trip!

After a relaxing lunch, we found our way to I-87 S and then I-90 W, which took us out to Rochester, where we are spending our first night.

Power to the Router!

One problem with the Honda Odyssey is that when you kill the ignition, power to the “power outlets” goes off as well. Wanting to provide internet access with the car off meant doing a little work, so I’ve built an “Automotive UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply).” Now, I can’t take much credit for this “invention” — most of the ingenuity is embodied in the one piece of electronics in it, which is an automotive UPS module I purchased from PowerStream. It is intended for more permanent installation with a second car battery, but I wanted something more portable, so I connected everything up to a traditional UPS battery. Susan found the perfect case at Target, and I supplemented with a bunch of parts (such as the cigar lighter sockets), mostly from DigiKey.

What you see in the picture is my home-built UPS, which will be used to power the router. The router connects to the internet via the Verizon/Kyocera ExpressCard sticking out of the side. When in the car, it connects to an external antenna to hopefully get the widest coverage range. The router then provides internet access to other devices, mostly laptops, through wifi and ethernet.

Interestingly, Verizon offers a device with nearly the same capabilities now, the MiFi:

But in a much smaller package!